18 Jun, 2012
Here's a quick tip for you. Every time you use a microcontroller (like PIC, AVR, anything for that matter) in your project, you'd definitely have a main loop that keeps looping the entire time. So, the best way to know if your microcontroller is indeed working and that it has not reset itself or done something funny, is to just toggle an output at the end of the loop. You can connect this to an LED with a resistor. Below is sample Assembly code for PIC.


main
         (some code here)

         BTFSC PORTB, 7
         GOTO turn_off_led
         BSF PORTB, 7 ;turns on LED
         GOTO main
turn_off_led
         BCF PORTB, 7
         GOTO main


The LED connected to the 8th bit of PORTB keeps toggling after every loop, so you can tell whether the microcontroller is executing the program and is not stuck.

17 Jun, 2012
A very simple wanderer bot controlled by a PIC16F877A. Watch the video below to see the bot in action. Wanderer Bot detects collisions with the help of a unique mechanism and tries to avoid them. And what's the most striking feature of it? It was built completely in just 2 days (or nights rather).



The video:



17 Jun, 2012
Have you ended up trying to create a PIC controlled robot/device and surprisingly nothing seems to work when the motor is connected? Well, here is a checklist to avoid that very problem.

You might have a PIC controlling a motor through a motor driver IC like the very commonly used L293D. The problem is, every time the motor is turned on, it pulls in a large current upsetting the entire circuit. Because of this, 'Brown Out Reset' causes your PIC to, you guessed it, reset. So have this disabled.

An important thing is a capacitor across your motor. Any small value capacitor will help avoid noise and interference.

A large value capacitor across your +5 and Gnd is a very good habit. This will help stabilise the voltage across your entire circuit.

Another lifesaver of a tip is to never switch on your motor in the start of the code. Something like this may not work.


begin:
start motor
call delay
goto begin


This pseudo code may not work because as you power up your circuit, the PIC tries to switch on the motor, and this causes the PIC to reset. Instead, do something like the one below. The delay in the start will let the voltage to stabilise first.


begin:
call delay
start motor
goto begin


Following these simple tips will turn out to be a lifesaver when you're frustrated when nothing with a motor works right.

26 Mar, 2012

Epic follows the epic battle between the Roolans and the Xedites, two races of species set in the future. A classic top-down shooter with various missions to complete. Also features a Random Map to let you play different scenarios.

The unique aspect of Epic is that it combines the features of an RTS and an arcade shooter. You scour around the game world with one spacecraft, but you can call in reinforcements to help you. However, to do so you need to collect Galactican cash. This you do by escorting(or rather hanging around) Motherships. The more Motherships under your control, the better since the rate of cash in-flow increases(pretty straightforward don't you think). And what's more, Motherships aligned to your side repair your ships as well.

Don't sweat it, the game has a tutorial that'll teach you the basics of the game. However, it's still a Work in progress and you might see a bug if you're really unlucky.

Here's the link to the game's page. Link
Mirror: Link